Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bloomin' Birthday with Vincent

plein air, 6" x 6", oil, 'Bloomin'

"If you hear a voice within you saying you are not a painter, then by all means paint... and that voice will be silenced."

Vincent van Gogh
born March 30, 1853

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hell's Backbone

plein air, 6" x 8", oil, 'Escalante' 

Hell's Backbone Road is a 38 mile gravel road that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. The road connects the towns of Boulder, Utah and Escalante, Utah. Halfway along the road is Hell's Backbone Bridge, which is 109 feet long, and 14 feet wide. A 1,500 foot drop is on either side. Near the bridge are spectacular views of the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness. From late spring to autumn, the road, which climbs to more than 9,000 feet elevation, is easily passable by ordinary passenger vehicles, but it is very narrow and winding, and not for the faint of heart.

Hell's Backbone Road is a high country alternative to the paved Utah Scenic Byway 12, which also connects Boulder and Escalante, 27 road miles apart.

This is a photo I took on my first trip across Hell's Backbone Bridge. It was a breath taking moment!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Advice from a Tree

plein air, 9" x 12", oil, 'Orchard Shadows'

Stand tall and proud.
Sink your roots into the earth.
Be content with your natural beauty.
Go out on a limb.
Drink plenty of water.
Enjoy the view.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

High Altitude

studio, 32"x 24", oil, 'Aspens'

I live in the Rocky Mountains and the Quaking Aspens are one of my favorite trees. I love to ride my horse  along the mountain trails with aspens. The locals call them 'Quakies' because the leaves of the aspens seem to be in constant motion. Aspens are med-sized deciduous trees. They like cold regions with cool summers at high altitudes. They have smooth pale greenish white to gray bark, marked with thick black horizontal scars and prominent black knots. The leaves are glossy green in  summer and turn shimmering golden in the autumn. A painter's delight!

All of the aspens grow in large clonal colonies derived from a single seedling and are spread by means of root suckers. New stems in the colony may appear 98-130 ft from the parent tree. Some trees can live to be 40-150 years above ground, but the root system of the colony is long-lived. In some cases, this is for thousands of years, sending up new trunks as the older trunks die off above ground. For this reason, it is considered to be an indicator of ancient woodlands. They are able to survive forest fires, because the roots are below the heat of the fire, with new sprouts growing after the fire burns out. 

Less than 100 miles from where I live in South-central Utah is Pando (Latin for "I spread"), also know as The Trembling Giant, located in the Fish Lake National Forest, near Fish Lake at the western edge of the Colorado Plateau.

Pando is a clonal colony of a single male Quaking Aspen. The plant is estimated to weigh collectively 6,600 tons, making it the heaviest known living organism. The root system of Pando, at an estimated 80,000 years old, is among the oldest known living organisms,  possibly the oldest living colony of aspens.

I snapped the above photo of Pando several years ago while painting in the Fish Lake area. I now have a greater respect for the Quaking Aspen. How about you? 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Dog or a Book = a Best Friend

plein air, 6" x 8", oil, '5th West Dog Walker'

My dog died last season. I have missed him. He was often at my side and anxious to go out into the fields while I painted the fleeting landscape or moving the farm's sprinkler lines during the summer. My husband didn't think our dog would live long after the cantankerous hereford bull knocked him around. That was in 2005. He out lived my husband by three years. Now, I miss both of them.

I found this quote by Groucho Marx while at a professional development class in Idaho Falls.

I have loved books my entire life. Mother would surprise me with a new book for Christmas or my birthday. There is something magical about holding a book, turning pages, and reading print. I was intrigued by the illustrations too. My sister (15 years older) had a great way of getting me to go to sleep at night when I was staying the summer with her and her young family. She would say "Here's a good book, have you read it?"

Books are a huge resource and reference for artists. With an investment in a good art library you have an arsenal as an artist. You can read what you have time and time again. Like a conversation with a best friend!

Jackson 1999-2012